Archive for November, 2009
“The Holly and the Sand” — Island Beach State Park, NJ, November
One of the joys of NJ WILD is receiving comments from readers. This one may be my all-time favorite, even though it was called forth by my furious posts over egregious vandalism to our beloved D&R Canal and Towpath. I have no patience with human destruction. Nature’s, on the other hand, holds lessons for us all:
Reaching this kind of reader with my words and images is my highest goal:
Wild New Jersey Exclusive: Urgent help wanted at Nature Center of Cape May
The tidal zone beyond Harborview Park’s bulkhead shows the aftermath of last week’s nor’easter. The area had just been cleaned by a Girl Scout troop in October. The Nature Center of Cape May is desperately seeking assistance in cleaning up harbor debris to avoid long term damage to the fragile harbor ecosystems and wildlife.
The Nature Center of Cape May holds harbor clean-ups twice a year. Their next scheduled clean-up is not until April 24, however, they cannot wait! Action must be taken now. As part of the nature center’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Debris Grant, community outreach and clean-up events will be forthcoming throughout the year.
The center is seeking community groups to help pick up trash along the harbor’s edge. They will provide the gloves, trash bags, buckets and tools to conduct a clean-up effort. They will document your group’s community service hours and write letters for students and scouts. They simply just need your help.
Any time you have available, the center will make arrangements to have the supplies ready for you. This is a great project for scout troops, church groups, school clubs or even a family group following that b ig turkey day dinner.
If you are interested in pitching in and helping to restore our beautiful harbor, protect marine life or simply make a positive impact on our precious world, please contact Gretchen Ferrante at 609-898-8848.
November 05, 2009
this topic, a lifelong fascination, was published in 2006. Enjoy.
Governor Bradford is witness to first growing and hunting seasons: “They began now to gather in ye small harvest… Others were exercised in fishing, aboute codd & bass & other fishe, of which they tooke good stores… All the somer ther was no wante. And now begane to come in store of fruits,… of which this place did abound when they came first… And besides water foule, ther was great store of wild Turkies, of which they took many, besides venison, &c. Besids they had aboute a peck a meale a weeke to a person, or now since harvest, Indian corne to the proportion.” Bradford insists that this bounty was “not fained, but true reports.”
“Rejoicing Together”: Indians/Pilgrims – What Did They Really Eat?
On a bleak November morning, a wild turkey flew low, dark and determined across Meadow Road, just missing my car. Serenely, he joined his stately flock in shadowy woods. This early Thanksgiving omen carried me right to ‘Plimoth Colony,’ – wondering what they really ate at that pivotal feast.
A Phillipsburg Manor guide once lectured on the difficulties of hunting and fishing for first settlers: “They brought all the wrong tools — fishhooks too small; fishnet holes too large for freshwater species.” Worse, British muskets were cumbersome, slow to load, and noisy: “Any deer worth his salt would be in the next county before those men could draw a bead.” His point: “Without the Abenaki and Wampanoag, the Pilgrims would have starved.”
We’ve heard this before. But the slowness of this week’s turkey flight made me wonder. Did turkeys really grace the first Thanksgiving table? Or were they too common for a feast? What WAS deemed worthy for 1621’s three-day celebration?
My Plimoth Colony Cookbook is introduced as “‘A collection of ‘receipts’ or ‘received rules of cookery’ used in Plymouth from Pilgrim days to the end of the last century.” [The 19th]. At Plymouth’s Harlow Old Fort House, “framed of timber from the original Pilgrim Fort,” re-enacted Pilgrim Breakfasts were served by “girls in Pilgrim costumes, bearing beans and fish cakes for this traditional meal.” For those ‘ill-equipt’ Europeans, however, there might not have even been beans and fish cakes, without Samoset, the Abenaki; Wampanoag Chief Massasoit; Hobomok, and Tisquantum, known as Squanto.
The Mayflower first landed November 11, 1620, in very northerly Provincetown. Although a landing party did not find appropriate conditions for settlement, the Mayflower Compact was crafted and signed offshore. On December 8, a search group explored farther south, on “First Encounter Beach”. Prophetic shots were exchanged without injury; an Indian corn cache raided. Some accounts report this theft later remedied. I have my doubts.
Again unsatisfied as to conditions, the Mayflower lifted anchor, braving turbulent seas anew. It arrived on the mainland December 20, near an abandoned Wampanoag village, Patuxent. One wonders if the settlers had brought Pilgrim equivalents of Zodiac landing craft; or, at least, dories. Wading would not have been pleasant, –rock or no rock. What is known is that arriving in ‘New Plymouth’ at the winter solstice, they faced the New World’s harshest months, with few wilderness skills and inappropriate equipment.
A 1633 list for a “well-equipt kitchen” reveals that Governor Bradford’s brother-in-law possessed “kettles, yron potts, a dripping pan, pewter platters, a smale brasse mortar and pestle, pewter flagons, beakers, salt sellers, porringers, spoons and pot hooks.” Without the Indians, those vessels would not have been filled. These cookbooks recount Indians teaching “lore of the forest, methods of fishing and hunting, …first introduc[ing] them to the growing of corn, which they planted along with their supplies of wheat and rye seed.” Lacking mills, how did they grind harvests of wheat or rye? However, recipes for their bread called ‘Rye ‘n’ Injun’ (corn) come to us from those days.
Squanto would not arrive until late March 1621, speaking English and facilitating the treaty of cooperation with Chief Massasoit. The idea for the autumnal feast may have originated with the natives, thankfulness being central to the daily life of Indians. At Tom Brown’s Tracker School, we would ask permission of tall grasses before reaping and binding; thank squirrels for giving over lives and spirits for our hearty stews. Indian ways, –which Tom Brown learned from the Apache, Stalking Wolf–, suggest that Massachusetts tribes may have also transmitted weir-building techniques: by placing rocks in strategic V’s to narrow streams, fish-spearing was virtually guaranteed.
As a generally eager hostess, I quail (pun intended) at the number of First Thanksgiving guests reported by Edward Winslow: “Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that we might, after a special manner, rejoice together… We exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest, their greatest king Massasoyt, with some ninety men, whom, for three days, we entertained and feasted; and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed…” I can hear the Phillipsburg guide chuckling, “Yes, even Pilgrims could shoot ducks and geese on the wing, accustomed to beaters who flushed prey back in England.” Prairie chicken, pigeon, quail and pheasant may also have been among ‘the bag’.
Written accounts describe only ‘waterfoul’ and deer at the First Thanksgiving. The New England Yankee Cookbook, Copyright 1939, discloses a likely candidate for inclusion –succotash: “The Indians planted beans in the same hill with corn, so that the vines of one might run up the stalks of the other. And after the harvest, they boiled the two together so as to blend the juices and called the dish succotash.”
Both Wampanoags and English stuffed birds and fish, using wild herbs and wild onions; the English incorporating oats. Cranberries and dried blueberries were key ingredients in pemmican, a dried meat paste that Indian women prepared for hunting and other journeys. Either or both berries could have been added to Thanksgiving dishes, providing welcome color and tang, as well as Vitamin C. (Early whalers prevented scurvy at sea by eating New England and New Jersey cranberries.)
Recipe names in my New England collection provide clues to other possible inclusions. But we will never know if their groaning board included finny creatures: “Smothered Fowl and Oysters”, “Fish Chowder”, “Clam Muddle”, “Lobster Soup”, “Codfish Tongues”, “Corn Chowder”, “Plymouth Clam Pie”, “Escalloped Oysters”. Dishes with names as disparate as “Smother” and “Bedspread” involved covering almost anything with oysters. Accounts reveal that the bivalves were not gathered at Plymouth Colony; –rather brought to the settlers from Cape Cod by helpful natives. Among these gifts were “soft- and hard-shelled clams, sea clams, quahogs, mussels, scallops, razor clams and sea snails.” One book’s lengthy fish and shellfish section redundantly declares, “Fish, supplemented by corn, kept the Pilgrims alive through the first hard years.” An early writer bragged or complained, “My bones are made of Indian corn.”
If pumpkin and other squashes played their part in the feast, –it was not as pie: there was neither flour nor shortening for piecrusts. Earliest techniques for dealing with pumpkin had it sliced and sautéed in animal fat, or stewed in a kettle over ‘ye fyre’. Edward Johnson, in 1651, would write, “Let no man make a jest of pumpkin, for with this fruit the Lord was pleased to feed his people until corn and cattle were increased.” Pumpkins, which Pilgrims called ‘pompions’, were also sliced and dried above fireplaces.
Desserts do not appear in most First Thanksgiving recountings. However, in 1609, historian Mark Lescarbot, in the Lake Champlain area, reported, “The Indians get juice from trees and from it distil a sweet and agreeable liquid.” “Indian Pudding,” that slow-cooked sweet of corn meal and milk, –still served at key Boston restaurants–, would not have graced the Thanksgiving table: Cattle did not arrive until a few voyages after that of 1620. Molasses did not emerge from the West Indies until later in the century. No nutmeg nor cinnamon was handy; although sassafras roots contributed a spiciness somewhat like root beer. Later, as a cure-all, sassafras would become a key trade item to the Mother Country. This sort of research kills too many traditional images and phrases, like “As American as apple pie.” Not for the Pilgrims — apples were not native here
early New England cookbooks. Answers emerged among:
The Plimoth Colony Cookbook, Plymouth Antiquarian Society, 1957
The New England Yankee Cookbook, Coward McCann, Inc., 1939
Favorite New England Recipes, Yankee Magazine, Dublin, New Hampshire, 1972
Peter Hunt’s Cape Cod Cookbook, Gramercy Publishing Company, Crown Publishers, MCMLXII
1. Edward Winslow, “A Letter Sent from New England,” In A Journal of the Pilgrims at Plymouth [Mourt’s Relation], Ed. Dwight B. Heath (New York: Corinth Books, 1963), p. 82.
2. William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation, 1620-1647, Ed. Samuel Eliot Morison (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1966), p.90.
3. Winslow, p. 86.
4. Winslow, p. 82.
Filed Under (Poetry) by Carolyn Foote Edelmann on 22-11-2009
November 23, 1963
Catherine came early to console us
The hospital was full that night, with mothers come to term, too soon, mourning the young president
A nurse brought masks for tears, scribbled nothing in her chart
Six contractions — Catherine in my arms
Less time than it had taken him to die
And certainly, less pain
Carolyn Foote Edelmann
By Art Buchwald
Thursday, November 24, 2005; Page C03
This confidential column was leaked to me by a high government official in the Plymouth colony on the condition that I not reveal his name.
One of our most important holidays is Thanksgiving Day, known in France as le Jour de Merci Donnant .
Le Jour de Merci Donnant was first started by a group of Pilgrims ( Pelerins ) who fled from l’Angleterre before the McCarran Act to found a colony in the New World ( le Nouveau Monde ) where they could shoot Indians ( les Peaux-Rouges ) and eat turkey ( dinde ) to their hearts’ content.
They landed at a place called Plymouth (now a famous voiture Americaine ) in a wooden sailing ship called the Mayflower (or Fleur de Mai ) in 1620. But while the Pelerins were killing the dindes, the Peaux-Rouges were killing the Pelerins, and there were several hard winters ahead for both of them. The only way the Peaux-Rouges helped the Pelerins was when they taught them to grow corn ( mais ). The reason they did this was because they liked corn with their Pelerins.
In 1623, after another harsh year, the Pelerins’ crops were so good that they decided to have a celebration and give thanks because more mais was raised by the Pelerins than Pelerins were killed by Peaux-Rouges.
Every year on the Jour de Merci Donnant, parents tell their children an amusing story about the first celebration.
It concerns a brave capitaine named Miles Standish (known in France as Kilometres Deboutish) and a young, shy lieutenant named Jean Alden. Both of them were in love with a flower of Plymouth called Priscilla Mullens (no translation). The vieux capitaine said to the jeune lieutenant :
“Go to the damsel Priscilla ( allez tres vite chez Priscilla), the loveliest maiden of Plymouth ( la plus jolie demoiselle de Plymouth). Say that a blunt old captain, a man not of words but of action ( un vieux Fanfan la Tulipe ), offers his hand and his heart, the hand and heart of a soldier. Not in these words, you know, but this, in short, is my meaning.
“I am a maker of war ( je suis un fabricant de la guerre ) and not a maker of phrases. You, bred as a scholar ( vous, qui tes pain comme un tudiant ), can say it in elegant language, such as you read in your books of the pleadings and wooings of lovers, such as you think best adapted to win the heart of the maiden.”
Although Jean was fit to be tied ( convenable tre emballe ), friendship prevailed over love and he went to his duty. But instead of using elegant language, he blurted out his mission. Priscilla was muted with amazement and sorrow ( rendue muette par l’tonnement et las tristesse ).
At length she exclaimed, interrupting the ominous silence: “If the great captain of Plymouth is so very eager to wed me, why does he not come himself and take the trouble to woo me?” ( Ou est-il, le vieux Kilometres? Pourquoi ne vient-il pas aupres de moi pour tenter sa chance ?)
Jean said that Kilometres Deboutish was very busy and didn’t have time for those things. He staggered on, telling what a wonderful husband Kilometres would make. Finally Priscilla arched her eyebrows and said in a tremulous voice, “Why don’t you speak for yourself, Jean?” ( Chacun a son gout. )
And so, on the fourth Thursday in November, American families sit down at a large table brimming with tasty dishes and, for the only time during the year, eat better than the French do.
No one can deny that le Jour de Merci Donnant is a grande fte and no matter how well fed American families are, they never forget to give thanks to Kilometres Deboutish, who made this great day possible.
2005Tribune Media Services
NJ WILD and WILDNJ bring us good news, yet again. The creatures who belong here, as in bear and peregrine of this past week’s posts, and now, bobcat, are reclaiming their territory.
Fellow poet, Penelope Schott, now of Portland Oregon, but formerly of my new street, Canal Road near Griggstown, reports that, about a mile from here, where she used to live, she heard and saw coyotes. I look forward to their chorale. Early in the morning, on the towpath, inches from my new door, she once shared the trail with a porcupine.
The foot(e)bridge where I now enter my beloved D&R Canal Towpath is the site where I met the canal, when I first moved to Princeton, in 1968. The scene on calm days of reflections in that water can be very French, stirring my homesickness for my other land. But, does France have bobcats and peregrines? Not in the year I loved on the hill above Cannes. And if they did, they’d eat them.
Meanwhile, NJ WILD readers, we can rejoice in the return of the WILD to our beleaguered state. Here’s another retort for the “what exit” joke, which has NEVER amused me… bobcats in the Water Gap!
In case you’ve forgotten: SAVE HABITAT!
From WildNJ today: TRULY WILD - a bobcat seen and photographed in New Jersey’s stunning Delaware Water Gap:
Reclusive bobcat caught on camera in Water
He had been stalking the big cat for months and finally had the shot of a lifetime –
–photo shot, that is.
Peregrine Falcon, Mature, in flight, by Raymond J. Barlow
My NJ WILD readers probably have gathered that birders don’t really have favorite birds. Or more accurately, we SHOULDN’T have favorite birds. When I’m out in the field, I work hard to convince myself, “There are no unworthy birds.”
Yet I confess, among my all-time top five is the peregrine falcon. Saucy, debonair, masked, “faster than a speeding bullet” (some controversy around this, but many record 200-mph ’stoops’ or dives on prey), for me, nobody really tops the peregrine.
This good news about peregrines in our state came through a daily list serve of miracles in New Jersey, –nature miracles - the only kind about which I care, frankly…
Rejoice, yet maintain caution and vigilance. It’s a toss-up which is worse for our birds and other wild creatures- habitat destruction or DDT residues even now, Rachel Carson or NO Rachel Carson - the chemical manufacturers never give up.
Not only in terms of peregrines, it’s simple: SAVE HABITAT. ESCHEW VILE CHEMICALS.
Do, –as I write our legislators on all those hot links all the time–, DO WHATEVER IT TAKES to make the world safe for WILD CREATURES.
Peregrine Young, Raymond J. Barlow –
Successfully hatched in a region where DDT does not weaken eggshells
I am particulary intrigued by the importance of bridges to peregrines. In a 1980’s poem, written and published when we were fighting the dire PUMP determined to empty our beloved DELAWARE RIVER - “I Am The River Speaking,” I dare to become the Delaware, ending with the realization, after the long fight, after the many betrayals, nonetheless, our River declares “I, who had been barrier, am bond.”
The peregrines know the importance of bridging gaps, know and show us the way.
And ‘peregrine’ means ‘wanderer’… I have a peregrine soul
Peregrine Immature Soars - Raymond J. Barlow
REALIZE, we are in some ways making it up to Mother Nature, some of us humans in this beleaguered state DID vote YES on NJ KEEP IT GREEN - a squeaking victory - 52 to 48 - nothing we can be proud of, except, though close, it IS a cigar!
Nature in New Jersey wears a crown this month. Keep it there, keep it shining, please.
I am the River, speaking
out of my depths
out of the bounty of my shores
swept with cleansing winds
from my tumultuous clouds
for streams who suckle me
for shad yet to be born
for generations of wildfowl for whom I am nursery
for lilting swallows nesting at my banks
for the ocean who cradles me at last
to you who float me, tend me
you who cast your nets within me
you who paint me, weave me
you who sculpt beside me
you who sing me
you who work to save me
I, Delaware, carol thanks
I, who had been barrier, am bond
CAROLYN FOOTE EDELMANN
Published in Citizens’ Voice, DelAWARE, in honor of Val Sigstedt and his loyal crew!
THE GOOD NEWS RE ‘OUR’ PEREGRINES
By BEN LEACH Staff Writer | Posted: Sunday, November 1, 2009 |
Peregrine falcon numbers continue to rise in New Jersey, but the species is still recovering from the effects of dangerous chemicals released into the environment decades ago.
That’s the conclusion drawn by the 2009 peregrine falcon report, which was released earlier this month by the state Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Fish and Wildlife.
New Jersey has 24 documented nesting pairs of peregrine falcons this year, up from 20 nesting pairs that were identified in the 2008 report.
The number of nesting pairs increased after four pairs were discovered along bridges that connect New Jersey to Pennsylvania.
Many of the existing pairs can be found along New Jersey’s coastal areas. This year, those nests were considered very successful, with 11 of 14 pairs producing 27 new peregrine falcon chicks during the course of the year.
With new discoveries made each year, it is possible that even more peregrine falcons could be found throughout the state.
“They can be really hard to pin down,” said Kathleen Clark, a biologist with the Division of Fish and Wildlife’s endangered species program who helped put together this year’s report.
Many peregrine nests in New Jersey are found on manmade structures such as bridges and the Atlantic City Hilton Casino Resort, where three peregrine chicks hatched in 2009.
Because of these nest-building trends, pairs can be difficult to track. Clark said the birds often build nests in places that are difficult to monitor and in many cases cannot even be seen. That’s why even though a peregrine may be spotted, biologists cannot confirm whether it is from New Jersey until they have found a nest.
“I know there are peregrines still in Newark,” Clark said. “But I can’t find them.”
The difficulty in tracking down nesting pairs extends into southern New Jersey as well. A nest for a pair of peregrines may be located underneath a portion of bridge that runs along Great Bay Boulevard in Little Egg Harbor Township’s Mystic Islands, but biologists will not list the peregrines as a nesting pair unless they see it with their own eyes.
“We haven’t gotten underneath that bridge to get a look at that pair,” said Ben Wurst, habitat program manager for Conserve Wildlife New Jersey.
Peregrine populations have rebounded significantly since every nesting pair east of the Mississippi River was wiped out due to the overuse of the pesticide DDT in the 1960s. The chemical caused eggshells to thin and lowered the survival rate for peregrine chicks.
While DDT is no longer used as a pesticide in the United States, evidence of its past use can still be seen to this day. Clark said peregrine egg shells, especially along New Jersey’s coastline, are still thinner than they should be.
A new threat facing many peregrines is a parasitic fly. Many nests that were inspected were home to several wingless flies that latched onto the birds.
“They suck the blood of nestlings,” Wurst said. “They’re killing peregrine chicks when they’re very young.”
Wurst said these pests can be eliminated with an alcohol spray, and the birds are not put at risk from the use of the spray.
To view the entire 2009 Peregrine Falcon report, visit:
Contact Ben Leach:
NJ WILD readers know how very much I celebrate any aspect of wild in our beleaguered, overpopulated state. My heart rejoiceth that bears have been seen in the Pine Barrens, near Chatsworth. I well know the three roads where the sightings happened, experiencing a delightful frisson whenever I am in ‘bear country’.
What could be more bear-able than the Pine Barrens? And yet, for all my longing, I’ve not seen in a bear in our state.
Nonetheless, this poem came to me in a potent year, and I share it with you, to remind you just what WILD really means!
If I ever publish a book of the 2001 poems, its title shall be, “Most Fierce in Strawberry Time.”
Bears, They Be Common…
“…for bears, they be common, being a great black kind of bear
which be most fierce in strawberry time…” William Wood, 1630
so early English readers
learn of wildlife in our land:
of squirrels so troublous to corn
that husbands (Wood means farmers)
carry their cats to the cornfields
hearns are herons, eel-devouring
eagles known as gripes
wolves bear no joint from head to tail
none but Indians may catch beaver
to hunt turkey, follow tracks in snow
but skip cormorants – rank and fishy –
owls taste better than partridge
Wood limns the Indian game:
riding the bear over
watery plain, until
he can bear him no longer
then engaging in a cuffing match
Wood gives short shrift to omens
save cranes in faminous winters
in my starveling time
a Nebraska sandhill crane’s been sighted
in nearby Lawrenceville
yet I cannot sight
my own rare Love
whose first eagle we discovered
gripping a glowering pine
after tracking the great hearns
with and without eels
we were untroubled
by jointless wolf, fishy cormorants
at dusk we would ride the black bear
over meadow and plain
kicking with eager heels
as he splashed into inky bogwater
we held no cuffing match
yet he is elusive as Wood’s beaver
cannot be tracked, even in freshest snow
now I shall be most fierce
in strawberry time
CAROLYN FOOTE EDELMANN
March 10, 2001
‘The Hobbit Tree’ at Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Preserve
–trail recently walked with Sophie Glovier and Bentley Drezner–
by photographer/fellow hiker that day: Mike Klein
MEET AUTHOR of BOOK CELEBRATING TRAILS ON PRESERVED LANDS IN OUR REGION
When Stuart Country Day School holds its Book Fair, November 10, Princetonians may stop by, BETWEEN ONE AND THREE p.m., to chat with author Sophie Glovier about her best-selling new compact guide to 16 trails on preserved land in our region.
Designed to fit comfortably in cargo pants pockets, without shortening our stride, Sophie’s brilliant guide is now in its third printing since its April launch. Photographer Bentley Drezner has immortalized alluring scenes of each of the 16 trails, in clever scenes that may be removed from the book to send to distant friends to convince them of the beauty of New Jersey.
The book’s thrust is to encourage everyone to get OUT there in the beauty in our own back yards, not only for health and fitness, but to appreciate and therefore preserve what’s left of nature in our beleaguered state.
Hikers of All Ages on Hobbit Tree Trail with Sophie, Bentley and 2 Allisons - Naturalists
by photographer Mike Klien
Here’s your chance to buy this treasure for ideal gifts for neighbors, friends and family who have everything. It costs a mere $20. While at the Stuart Book Fair, feel free to ask Sophie pertinent questions such as favorite treks, best for children, and the like. Guide-Michelin-like icons alert you to trails suitable for strollers, for pets, time of hike, and so forth.
Profits are split among three local non-profits: D&R Greenway Land Trust (where I work - no secret); Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association; and Friends of Princeton Open Space.
Left to Right, Designer Maria Lindenfeldar; author Sophie Glovier;
Photographer, Bentley Drezner
For all my constant hikes, Sophie’s books reveals entries I do not know, setting up quests new to me, such as the Hobbit Tree Trail at the Stony Brook. At the end of that hike with Sophie recently:
Mike Klein captures sensitivity of the banding process
One of the joys of walking trails in and around Princeton is that surprises materialize at every turn. At the end of Sophie’s and Bentley’s “Hobbit Tree Hike” at the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed recently, photographer Mike Klein captured naturalist, Allison’s tender hands, in the process of banding a feisty monarch, ready willing and able to fly directly SOUTH upon release!
Mike Klein’s image of butterfly, band in place, ‘ready to roll!’